Photos courtesy of the Tampa Police Department. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen, 45, died in a car crash after apparently veering into the path of a wrong-way driver on Interstate 275 in Tampa, Florida, according to a TPD press release.
At approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, TPD received 911 calls from motorists reporting a white sedan traveling at a high rate of speed southbound on northbound I-275. Officials identified the driver as Joshua Daniel Montague, 25, of Golden, Colorado, and the white sedan was a rental. According to the press release, Madsen’s and Montague’s vehicles collided between the Hillsborough and Sligh Avenue exits, killing both.
TPD Chief Brian Dugan said during a Tuesday press conference, based on preliminary information investigators have gathered, that they believe Madsen intentionally veered into Montague’s car to protect others.
“When you look at someone who has earned seven lifesaving awards, it’s no surprise that he would take such swift action and do this,” Dugan said.
Madsen spent 16 years with TPD, and five years previously at two different Ohio police departments. Prior to beginning his law enforcement career, Madsen served in the US Marine Corps. He is survived by his wife, a 16-year-old son, a 12-year-old son, and a 10-year-old daughter.
Danny Alvarez with the Tampa Police Benevolent Association told WFLA, “He served in the Marine Corps. He served overseas. He’s a decorated combat veteran. He also served in the Florida national guard. He served with three police units until he settled here at the Tampa Police Department. So service was nothing new to him.”
Thirty-two officers have died in the line of duty since the creation of the TPD.
“The Tampa Police Department will go into a seven-day period of mourning,” the TPD press release said. “Jesse was a guardian of this city. He will never be forgotten.”
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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